Preludes to Dracula
November 17, 2018 12:49 PM   Subscribe

Roughly coincident with Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker's prequel to Dracula (excerpt 1; excerpt 2) contending for a Goodreads Choice Award for Horror, Philip Spedding at The London Library has announced an intriguing find: "Bram Stoker was a member of The London Library but until now we have had no indication whether or how he used our collection. Today's discovery changes that" (video walkthrough of the evidence). Alternative copies of the sources listed in the article are available online.

Sources for Dracula: Previously: Dacre Stoker; contemporary reviews of Dracula; and the discovery of another preface to Dracula.
posted by Wobbuffet (15 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
 
I read the blurb on the front page, clicked through the "today's discovery changes that" link and was like, "Cool."

Then I clicked through the "more inside" and was like, "Gott in Himmel!"

Wonderful post!
posted by glonous keming at 1:11 PM on November 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


When Dacre Stoker, great-grandnephew of Dracula author Bram Stoker, discovered that 101 pages had been cut from the beginning of that book’s manuscript prior to publication in 1897, the revelation sparked ideas for a possible prequel. Further investigations unearthed a lost journal of Stoker’s which provided significant insight into his life and work as a clerk in Dublin and later as a theatre manager in London. Finally, a (closely supervised) reading of the original annotated Dracula manuscript, which Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen had bought at a private auction some years ago, further fuelled Dacre’s curiosity.
Even Stokers need a little stoke?

I'll get me coat.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:55 PM on November 17, 2018 [4 favorites]


I'm cool with this as long as Kevin J. Anderson is not involved in any way, shape or form.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 1:59 PM on November 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


This is my library and I was very excited to hear news of the find as it slowly peeked out, and we should note that Creation Theatre are performing Dracula early next year in the Reading Room there to celebrate this discovery. There are so many metastories in the volumes of the LL, I always look forward to the results of their sleuthing.
posted by bookbook at 1:59 PM on November 17, 2018


On the one hand: marginalia are cool and can be so informative! When I was working on Book One, I came across a naughty anecdote in the margins of a biographical collection devoted to actresses, and occasionally I stumble across a religious novel with underlining or comments (sometimes irate comments).

On the other hand: BRAM DO NOT WRITE IN THE MARGINS OF LIBRARY BOOKS WTH.

Although at least it looks like he was marking up his own copy of Thomas Browne, later donated to the library.
posted by thomas j wise at 2:08 PM on November 17, 2018 [5 favorites]


Was marking up library books just a thing people did back then, or was Stoker a dick?
posted by Etrigan at 2:20 PM on November 17, 2018


Surviving examples of rules for users (both in the USA and the UK) indicate that writing in library books was always considered a Bad Thing; as per the usual, that didn't stop anybody.
posted by thomas j wise at 2:36 PM on November 17, 2018


I have a friend, who is an author with a following, who says she kind of doesn’t like signing books for people because her mother told her NOT TO WRITE IN BOOKS!
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:39 PM on November 17, 2018 [7 favorites]


Books referenced in Bram Stoker’s notebooks never held by the Library

Fishery Barometer Manual, Robert Scott


Fishery Barometer Manual??
posted by gusottertrout at 3:04 PM on November 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


Fishery Barometer Manual??

I had a similar reaction, and ...
Dracula, ch. 7: "The wind was then blowing from the south-west in the mild degree which in barometrical language is ranked 'No. 2: light breeze.'"

Fishery Barometer Manual search results for light breeze.
I don't know if this is a shining example of science writing and/or necessary detail in fiction, but the textual criticism checks out.
posted by Wobbuffet at 3:16 PM on November 17, 2018 [12 favorites]


I've been trying to train a neural net on a combination of Dracula and Sherlock Holmes to create the ultimate public domain novel. It's not going well.
posted by runcibleshaw at 7:53 PM on November 17, 2018 [5 favorites]


Fishery Barometer Manual, Robert Scott

This would be a good user name, with or without the “Robert Scott” at the end.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:26 AM on November 18, 2018 [1 favorite]


I've been trying to train a neural net on a combination of Dracula and Sherlock Holmes to create the ultimate public domain novel. It's not going well.
Add some Wells.
posted by doctornemo at 10:41 AM on November 18, 2018 [2 favorites]


Wobbuffet, thank you very much for assembling links to those sources.
posted by doctornemo at 10:46 AM on November 18, 2018 [1 favorite]


Thanks. Dracula is among my favorite novels.
I’ll be busy for awhile now.
posted by Gadgetenvy at 7:17 PM on November 19, 2018


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